Published on Sep 9, 2011
So I'm minding my own business following a ridge line, when I drop into a hollow (pronounced: holla!!!) and bam, there it is, a torrential wall of water. 3 weeks ago, hikers traversing this area of Pennsylvania would have been met with drought, struggling to get from spring to spring with enough water. Now, with what I viewed from the mountains as a mild rain, PA is indeed inundated. Even up in the mountains, streams became impassable cascades.
This went beyond the normal "the-trail-is-a-freakin'-river" that is the reality of most hiking in the rain. This was full on flood conditions...in the mountains. At one point, I bushwhacked a couple hundred yards upstream only to cross at a point that was a little less terrifying. I called it quits when I thought to myself, "I wonder how many days it would take them to untangle my body from the broken tree limbs? I better not slip."
Upon reaching the road where I was to resupply, I was greeted by spectators taking pictures of a bridge. The bridge lead to what was now an island in the middle of the river. There was supposed to be trail on the other side. I crossed, found myself with no place left to go, and came back. Seconds later, a full sized hemlock crashed into the bridge, taking out several 2x8 rails with a force similar to an auto crash.
With the flooding, and the downed trees across the trail, I thought, "Man it sucks to be hiking in a disaster zone." The next day, Obama confirmed my whining by actually declaring parts of PA a disaster zone.